News 1812 views last update:Feb 25, 2016

No pork for Christmas in Belgium

The Belgian farmers union ABS has asked members not to supply any pigs as from Dec 8th till the end of the year.

''We will paralyse every slaughterhouse and meat factory in this country. We also ask our European counterparts to follow our example. This is a desperate act of last resort, there is nothing to lose for the pig holders.''

The Algemeen Boeren Syndicaat is taking these drastic steps in an effort to stop the continuous decline of the pig prices in Europe. ABS says the pig price is established each week in Germany and then copied in other European countries. ''We can understand that for pork exported to Germany but there is no link with Germany for pork for the home market or for pork exported to other countries.'' All efforts to start a separate supply chain for pigs from smaller Belgian family farms with a price supplement for the guaranteed quality have been abandoned, ABS says. ''The partners in the chain say they fully understand our problems but that doesn't pay our bills.''

As a first step, the union has asked members in the pig industry to limit the slaughter weight of all animals to 105 kg. That will lead to some 10% reduction of the meat production. ''Such a step will offer pig farmers advantages such as a better food conversion, less manure, less feed to buy and temporarily a higher cash flow.'' However, the focus of the campaign will be in the weeks before Christmas so that the Belgium Christmas table will have to do without pork which is for many families on the European continent the main dish for that day.

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